**International Mathematical Union**

Press Information

30 April 2002

GAUSS PRIZE

New
Prize in Science promotes Mathematics as a Key Technology

Mathematics is an important
and ancient discipline—no one doubts that.
However, it seems that only the experts know that mathematics is a
driving force behind many modern technologies. The *Gauss Prize* has been
created to help the rest of the world realize this fundamental fact. The prize is to honor scientists whose
mathematical research has had an impact outside mathematics – either in
technology, in business, or simply in people’s everyday lives.

The Gauss Prize is awarded
jointly by the *Deutsche
Mathematiker-Vereinigung (DMV = German Mathematical Union) *and the *International Mathematical Union (IMU)*,
and administered by the DMV. The prize
consists of a medal and a monetary award (currently valued at EUR 10,000). The source of the prize is the surplus from
the *International Congress of
Mathematicians (ICM’98)* held in Berlin.

The official announcement of
the establishment of the prize takes place on 30 April 2002, the 225^{th}
anniversary of the birth of Carl Friedrich Gauss, after whom the award is
named. The prize is to be awarded every
four years, at the *International Congress of Mathematicians*, with the
first award to be presented at the Congress in 2006. The laureates will be chosen by a jury selected by the IMU.

Carl Friedrich Gauss
(1777-1855) was one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. He combined scientific theory and practice
like no other before him, or since, and even as a young man Gauss made
extraordinary contributions to mathematics.
His *Disquisitiones arithmeticae*, published in 1801, stands to
this day as a true masterpiece of scientific investigation. In the same year, Gauss gained fame in wider
circles for his prediction, using very few observations, of when and where the
asteroid *Ceres* would next appear.
The method of least squares, developed by Gauss as an aid in his mapping
of the state of Hannover, is still an indispensable tool for analyzing
data. His sextant is pictured on the
last series of German 10-Mark notes, honoring his considerable contributions to
surveying. There, one also finds a bell curve, which is the graphical
representation of the Gaussian normal distribution in probability.
Together with Wilhelm Weber, Gauss invented
the first electric telegraph. In
recognition of his contributions to the theory of electromagnetism, the
international unit of magnetic induction is the **gauss**.

The IMU has been awarding
the Fields Medals – generally
considered as the “Nobel Prize for mathematics” – for fundamental contributions
to mathematics since 1936 and the Nevanlinna Prize for
outstanding work in the filelds of theoretical computer science since
1982. The Nevanlinna Prize and up to
four Fields Medals are awarded every four years at the opening of ceremony of
the International Congress of Mathematicians.
The Gauss Prize will be awarded in the same manner.

With the Gauss Prize, the
IMU is broadening the range of its awards, now including the influence of
mathematics to other disciplines. The
award ceremony will include an overview of the achievements of the
prize-winner. The presentation of the mathematical work will be addressed to
the general public as well as journalists, so that all may appreciate the
importance of mathematics for everyday life.

The statutes of the Gauss
Prize can be found at URL:

http://www.mathematik.uni-bielefeld.de/DMV/Gauss/

**Further information: **Prof. Dr. Martin Grötschel, Professor at TU
Berlin, Vice President of Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum für Informationstechnik Berlin (ZIB),
Member of the IMU Executive Committee, former Chairman of the DMV and former
President of the ICM’98 Organizing Committee

**Contact:
**Konrad-Zuse-Zentrum für Informationstechnik Berlin (ZIB),

Takustr. 7, D-14195 Berlin, Germany,

Phone: +49 (030) 84185-210, +49 (030) 84185-208 (Secretary),

Fax: +49 (030) 84185-269,
e-mail: groetschel@zib.de.

*The International Mathematical Union (IMU) is an
international non-governmental and non-profit making scientific organization,
with the purpose of promoting international cooperation in mathematics. It is a
member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).*

*The Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung (DMV) is the German
National Mathematical Society. Its goal is to promote mathematics and its
applications.*

* *